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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

By Brian Bailey

Program making progress under Mac

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland gave Mack McCarthy a season to show improvement within the school's basketball program.

Coach Mac took over a train wreck this past summer, and his own team has had its share of ups and downs.

If the goal was improvement, then there is no doubt as to what Coach Holland should do at season's end.

I still think Coach McCarthy should have gotten a contract after the win over North Carolina State. But Holland said he’d wait until the end of the season, and so far he’s sticking to that idea.

Houston came to town as a 10 and 1/2-point favorite to beat East Carolina. But the Pirates shot the lights out from three-point range and hung tough until late in the second half.

Houston was up four and had the basketball. But an improved Pirate basketball team made the plays down the stretch to win it. James Legan shot his way out of a slump with two huge threes, and then the Pirates came up big on defense in the final seconds.

East Carolina won the game 84-83 in one of the best games we’ve seen in sometime at Williams Arena.

The Pirate players continue to send their support to Coach Mac.

“As a senior, I don’t want to see another coach next year,” said junior Sam Hinnant after his 30-point performance against the Cougars. “He’s (Coach McCarthy) like a big brother to me.”

Senior Darrell Jenkins also chimed in.

“I think he can get it done here,” said Jenkins. “Let him have a chance to get some recruits in here with this coaching staff.”

The Pirates now try to figure out a way to play better on the road. That’s probably the most disappointing part of this season for Mack McCarthy.

ECU closes out the regular season at Rice and at Tulane, and then it’s on to the Conference USA tournament in Memphis.

“We played two of our best games of the year,” said McCarthy after victories over Southern Methodist and Houston. “It’ll be interesting to see if we can build on that and go win on the road. We’ve proven we can continue to improve as the conference season goes on, no matter what happens.

"Now we’ve got to prove that we can win on an enemy court.”

Pitchers stepping up

East Carolina’s baseball weekend got off to a slow start with a 4-3 loss to Monmouth on Friday night.

The Pirates came back strong on Saturday and Sunday, winning 11-2 and 6-0 to take the series.

The highlight of the weekend was the Pirate pitching staff, especially Sunday starter Justin Bristow.

Bristow threw a complete game two-hit shutout. He was absolutely brilliant, facing 31 batters, walking one and striking out six. He did hit a couple of batters, but gave up only a double in the third and a single in the fourth.

The three Pirate starters for the weekend all had great ERA’s. Bristow led way with his complete game shutout for a big zero of an earned run average. Seth Maness went 5 and 1/3 with a 1.69 ERA, while T.J. Hose was at 1.35 in 6 and 2/3.

The ECU hurlers struck out 23 batters this weekend, while walking only four.

The Pirates were one strike away from posting a win in the first game of the series. The Hawks scored three runs with two outs in the frame to rally for the opening game win.

“I was pleased with how the guys bounced back after a disappointing loss on Friday night,” said head coach Billy Godwin after Sunday's finale. “I think sometimes failure is our best teacher. Our guys came out and had a point to prove. Today was as good as we’ve played with our pitching, offense and defense.”

The Pirates swiped 14 of 15 base attempts against Monmouth with Harrison Eldridge collecting seven steals. Eldridge is 10-10 for the season.

East Carolina heads north for a pair of games this week. ECU meets Old Dominion on Tuesday, and then battles Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday.


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Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

04/21/2008 07:06:04 PM


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